AFP, PNP identifying Visayas poll hotspots
At least 62 of 555 barangays in Negros Oriental have been included in election watchlist areas in Western Visayas, authorities said yesterday.
Senior Superintendent Edwin Portento, Negros Oriental police director, said these election hotspots are mostly hinterland barangays where New People’s Army rebels have been monitored.
Portento said they deployed 140 neophyte police personnel in the province to reinforce the 2nd Provincial Mobile Force Company.
Authorities said at least 200 barangays in Western Visayas are on the initial list of potential hotspots.
In Eastern Visayas, Maj. Gen. Raul Farnacio, 8th Infantry Division commander, said 80 percent of their five battalions would be deployed in election hotspots and conflict areas.
Farnacio said they would prioritize areas where there are intense political rivalries, citing Samar, Northern Samar and Eastern Samar.
“We will not allow violence to happen… We would continue to assess and review the situation to guard against private armed groups… We will see if we have to increase the number of troops in these areas,” he said.
Farnacio said they also put up checkpoints in strategic areas in Calbayog City and other parts of Samar, Northern Samar and Leyte.
Jose Nick Mendros, Commission on Elections (Comelec)-Western Visayas director, said they are reviewing other possible areas of concern during the barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections on May 14.
Senior Superintendent Edgar Alan Okubo, Cebu police director, said they would recommend the inclusion in election watchlist areas of two barangays in Tuburan town.
Okubo refused to identify the barangays pending validation.
Village chief nabbed
Meanwhile, William Martinez, chairman of Barangay Sta. Maria, Prosperidad, Agusan del Sur, was arrested on Sunday for violating the Comelec ban on illegal possession of firearms. He reportedly yielded a caliber .45 pistol and ammunition.
Motorycle rider Moises Pecho was apprehended on Monday for possession of an unlicensed caliber .45 pistol after he figured in an accident in Sto. Domingo, Ilocos Sur.
Pecho was taken to a hospital for treatment after his motorcycle rammed an electric post in Barangay Cabigbigaan.